Sparta Tacoma Return-to-play Guide

Sparta Tacoma Return-to-Play Guide

Last updated October 18, 2020. Please check back often for updates.

Click Here For Our COVID-19 Exposure Protocol

Sparta Tacoma Return to Play October Updates
From Puget Sound Premier League (PSPL) Oct 15:
The Dev League (U9 and U10) will be put on pause following this weekend and could resume on the Nov. 7 weekend along with the rest of the league divisions.
The high-risk classification for King and Pierce counties means the 11U & older divisions will begin their fall seasons on the Nov. 7 weekend - if counties return to Green Zone.

The plan is to schedule games over Thanksgiving weekend and likely through the Dec. 12-13 weekend. We can even go deeper into December, and teams conceivably, could schedule weekday games through the holidays. It is our preference to finish the fall seasons - if all goes well - by Dec. 13, which is a Sunday.

But our message to everyone: we still have plenty of flexibility to complete an eight-game fall season. One fall-back position: complete a six-game season by mid-December, or later.
On Tuesday, October 6, Governor Inslee lifted some restrictions on youth sports which allows teams to train with contact and participate in competitive play - when Pierce and surrounding counties are meeting COVID-19 requirements.
When will we have games?
  • Some Sparta teams may have their first game as early as Saturday, October 18
  • Most teams could begin having games October 24 or 31
  • A county must be in the low or moderate COVID-19 activity level to participate in competitive play. The State's COVID-19 - risk assessment dashboard is the authority for determining the county risk level and ability to play games.
  • When data published in the state dashboard shows a county with greater than 75 cases per 100K over 14 days OR greater than 5% positivity (high level), games will be cancelled.
  • If either team's county falls into the high level COVID-19 activity category, the game must be cancelled - regardless of the game location.
  • These points are a summary of the current requirements. The Governor's office released an FAQ document October 13 with some additional clarification. You can also read the Governor's full requirements released October 6 here.
  • We will update parents, coaches and players on the status of games as we learn more.
What will be different about games this season?
Puget Sound Premier League (PSPL) has summarized the requirements that we must meet to have competitive play. Some of these restrictions include:
  • Only one parent per player can watch the match when we are in the moderate risk category
  • Players are required to wear masks when not playing
  • Teams will sit on opposite sides of the field
While we are extremely excited to return to competitive play, this does not mean we can relax other existing safety protocols. Coaches must still wear masks, and participants should continue to social distance at water breaks, etc. We also understand every family needs to make their own decisions about when to return to play.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional information and updates.
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Sparta Restart: Return-To-Play Phases Overview

The information in this document is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, are provided for general informational purposes only. The knowledge and circumstances around COVID-19 are changing constantly and, as such, Sparta Tacoma makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information. Further, you should seek advice from medical professionals and/or public health officials if you have specific questions about your return to training and competition.

This document describes the phased return-to-play plan for Sparta Tacoma. These phases provide structure for a gradual approach to return to play during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It needs to be recognized that across the state and county at any given time, teams, clubs and organizations in different regions will be operating under differing state and local regulations - and thus will be operating in different phases. These phases are written to stay in compliance and alignment with Washington state's phased approach to re-opening (link).

Four Phases:

Phase 1: Stay and Shelter

  • No recreational organized activities
  • Practices only "Virtual" using Zoom or equivalent

Phase 2: Individual and Small Group Training

  • Small Group trainings with max 5 players and 1 coach, outdoor only
  • Training groups don't change once formed
  • No tackle, social distancing practices in place
  • Mask worn by player when entering and exiting practice space
  • Mask worn by coaches at all times
  • Parents/guardian to perform simple health screening before each training (see Daily Training Health Check Requirements below)

During this phase, small group trainings can begin with a maximum of five (5) players and one (1) coach. Group sizes based on age and assurance of social distancing measures should be considered to avoid any cluster outbreaks. It is important to keep the same players in the same groups for the duration of the phase. Multiple groups can practice at the same time; however, they must be separated by at least 5 yards. During this time, it is also important to consider injury risk strategies as endurance, strength and soccer skills come back into focus.

Phase 3: Full Team Training

  • Players, coaches and observers (parents, etc.) gathered in one location should not exceed more than 50 people
  • Health screening at the start of all events (see Daily Training Health Check Requirements below)
  • Continue to maintain social distancing
  • Mask worn by player when entering and exiting practice space
  • Mask worn by coaches and spectators at all times

Phase 4: No Restrictions

  • Aligned with Phase 4 of Washington state's phased approach to re-opening (link) No restrictions related to COVID-19

Reverting to Earlier Phases

Regardless of which phase we are in, we should be prepared to step back and revert to an earlier phase at any time and follow local public health official guidelines at all times.

General Hygiene Code of Conduct

Returning to play is a personal choice, and you should feel comfortable determining for yourself if you would like to resume activities in a small group environment.

For Parents and Guardians

  • Parents and guardians should be thoroughly aware of all safety recommendations, and ensure their family follows them.
  • Parents and guardians are asked to support the coach and organization in adhering to all safety recommendations.
  • Parents and guardians are not encouraged to attend training and should stay away from the training field.
    1. Accompanying parents and guardians are encouraged to stay in their cars or depart the area while their child is training.
    2. Note that anytime there is one coach alone with players, there should be one adult (designated parent or club staff) observing from a distance, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.
  • Parents and guardians should not congregate together and should follow social distancing guidelines.

General Health

  • If you are sick or have symptoms of an illness:
  • Stay home. Stay home regardless of what is causing your illness.
  • If you are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 practice self-quarantine measures and contact your physician.
  • To discontinue quarantine and return to sport, obtain appropriate clearance from your medical provider.
  • If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID 19:
  • Begin self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Advise a club board member, team manager, or coach if any possible exposures have occurred in your team, training or club environment. Parents (and not the minor player) should communicate with the club or coach, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.

Daily Training Health Check Requirements

  • The participant (by Parent) must conduct a daily temperature check for low grade fever at home before training. If you have a fever (>100.4.), do not go to training.
  • If thermometers are not available, conduct a daily health questionnaire in line with the "Coronavirus Self-Checker," made available by the CDC.
  • Do not participate in activities if you have any of the symptoms:
    1. COVID exposure in past 14 days
    2. Sore throat
    3. Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    4. Fever >100.4 F
    5. Chills
    6. Headache
    7. Sinus congestion
    8. Cough persistent and or productive
    9. Joint aches and soreness
    10. Vomiting or diarrhea
    11. Rash
  • Do not go to training facilities or fields with any of the above symptoms. Remotely communicate your health status to coaches, instructors, team administrators, or medical staff within 24 hours of your training session. Parents (and not the minor player) should communicate with the club or coach, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance. Speak to a physician and follow CDC guidelines on self-quarantine.
  • Should a member of your household be experiencing the symptoms above, the family member should consult a physician. Follow the recommendations listed for medical clearance outlined in this document.
  • Maintain all recommended hygiene habits outlined by the CDC.

What it means to practice 'social distancing'

  • Maintain "social distancing" of at least six feet.
  • Avoid activities involving high levels of group interaction (ex: team huddles).
  • Avoid general physical interaction including hugging, "high fives" or passing objects by hand.
  • Participants and any additional persons on site (employee, volunteer, parent) should avoid close contacts and follow all social-distancing guidelines.
  • Distance yourself from anyone exhibiting signs of sickness.

General Hygiene

  • Avoid touching your eyes/mouth/nose as much as possible.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
    1. Use soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
    2. When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    1. Follow with washing or sanitizing your hands.
    2. Dispose of tissues in a sealed trash can.
  • Avoid spitting and coughing.
  • Follow recommendations on wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment - masks or face covers) outlined below.

Equipment & Training Gear

  • Do not share personal equipment or gear (e.g. water bottles, towels, team bibs, etc.).
  • Soccer balls may be shared provided players only touch the ball with their feet.

Preparing to Train

These recommendations outline considerations and protocols you should follow as you prepare to return to play

Note that the foundational requirement for the following protocols is that state or local health regulations permits groups of a specific number to gather.

The following applies for all players, coaches, referees, administrators, volunteers, staff and household members.

Getting Ready for Training

  • Prepare and pack your water bottle for training.
    1. Each player is recommended to bring at least two bottles of water to training, to limit the need for refills. You should not share water bottles and are not recommended to use public water fountains.
    2. Clearly mark your name on your water bottle.
  • Get dressed at home in your training gear so that you can arrive to the training site ready to play, without needing to use locker rooms or changing areas.
  • Participants are recommended to pack and bring to training personal sanitizing supplies, including hand sanitizers. Sanitizing materials should be clearly marked and not shared.
  • Wash your hands before departing for training.

Travel to Training

  • Travel with as few people as possible to training (ex: one parent and one child).
    1. Carpooling or ride sharing is highly discouraged in Phase 2. For families who must ride together with no other alternatives:
      1. Only rideshare with a family or individual who has practiced appropriate distancing and sheltering requirements established by their local government or public health officials.
      2. Rideshare with the same individuals each training.
  • Ensure that all passengers have passed both the preliminary and daily clearance requirements outlined in this section.
  1. Maintain safe distancing within the vehicle during loading, transport and unloading.
  2. Limit the number of stops between departure site and training destination.
  3. Wear your PPE (face mask) in the vehicle.
  • In accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance, minor and an adult who is not the minor player's parent/legal guardian should not be alone in the vehicle together.

Arrival to Training

  • When conducting small group sessions, each group should be provided with a specific and different training time (e.g. Group A trains at 6pm, Group B trains at 7pm, etc.).
  • Assign areas to enter the field and area where to exit the field to prevent crossover.
  • Work with your groups to stagger individual arrival times so that participants can enter the facility or field individually.
    1. Designate an "entrance" time for each coach and player.
    2. Participants should wait in their cars until their specific time to enter the facility or field.
    3. It is recommended that only the participant departs the vehicle.
    4. It is recommended that the driver either leaves the training facility or stays in the parking lot, remaining in the vehicle and observing all social distancing guidelines.
  • Participants should use hand sanitizer to sanitize hands upon arrival.

Preparation Areas

  • Plan ahead to prepare the field to best accommodate social distancing.
  • Consider creating "personal prep stations."
    1. Set up a line of cones 6-feet apart in an area to the side of the training field.
    2. Arrange one cone per participant (player, coach, referee, administrators, etc.)
    3. When a participant arrives, designate a cone as their "personal prep station" for the duration of the training session. The individual should place their bags, water bottles, towels, etc. at this cone.

Masks / Face Covers / Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • All participants (coaches, players, referees, instructors, administrators) are recommended to wear new or clean PPE upon arrival, departure and when not physically active during activities.
  • PPE should cover the nose and mouth, be breathable, consist of cotton or wick-type material and follow CDC guidelines.
  • PPE should be new or clean for each training session; and disposed or thoroughly cleaned after each training session.
  • Provided all screening, hygiene and social distancing measures are followed, masks are not mandatory for players/coaches/referees/instructors/participants during exertional moments of training (i.e. when physically active). PPE may obscure vision, increase respiratory challenges, or increase other injury risk while being physically active.
    1. For players and team/club staff that choose to wear PPE while physically exerting themselves, the following should be considered:
      1. Discuss with your primary care physician if any medical conditions pre- dispose you to avoid the use of a face cover while participating in physical activity.
      2. PPE should be breathable and not prevent or disrupt ventilation.
      3. PPE should not obscure the individual's vision.
      4. PPE should not pose a risk to another participant.
      5. PPE should be in good maintenance, at the responsibility of the individual.
  • Guidelines may change based on evolving medical and health information, as well as local state or federal guidelines.
  • The club may ask for objective evidence that a physician has approved the used of the PPE.

Medical Clearance

  • For individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, written confirmation of COVID-19 negative status and clearance from your physician for return to full participation in sport & activity.